Africana Studies

The Africana Studies minor serves as an introduction to the historical, political, cultural and social traditions of the African continent and the African Diaspora within disciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts. Elective courses which satisfy the intellectual requirements of the minor trace the customs, mores, and histories of African nations or countries with significant African Diaspora populations, perform comparative analyses between African or African Diaspora populations, or focus on individual spheres (cultural, economic, political, social, etc.) within specific African/African Diaspora populations.

Since the April 2001 civil unrest in Cincinnati, Ohio, Father Graham has made diversity and community engagement one of the "silos" in his personal and professional development. He has done so in order to lead by example, to underscore his belief that diversity, in the broadest sense, is not so much relevant as it is intrinsic to a Catholic university in the Jesuit tradition. Intellectual inquiry is, by definition, diverse and focused, interdisciplinary and disciplinary. Given the faculty-led commitment to diversity and interdisciplinary studies (see our Academic Vision Statement), this minor is an appropriate addition to our on-going engagement with our students and their - to say nothing of our - intellectual interests.
Inspired by the growing African population in the Tri-State region, the increased activism and visibility of African and African American students on campus and the formation of the African Student Union and Study Abroad program in Ghana, Africa (these last two developments under the tutelage of Dr. Jerry Cline-Bailey), student demand for concentrated studies in African and African American history has steadily increased. At the same time faculty interest in teaching courses concerning African and African American cultures, broadly defined, has also increased. The evidence for this mutually enhancing, mutually engaged, Interest can be seen in the fifty-seven African- and African American-related courses taught at Xavier University since 2004. That these courses have been taught in departments with usually, at best, one African or African American professor indicates the widespread interest among the general faculty in African and African American cultures. Finally, because the African and African American student population at Xavier remains relatively small, the success of these courses indicates widespread interest among students in African and African American social, cultural and historical issues.
Although we have identified specific courses required to complete the minor, we expect the list of both required and electives (a summary list of other courses that qualify for the minor is attached). As the letters from the chairs of the relevant departments indicates, the required courses listed on the first page of this proposal will be offered on a regular basis. The word "regular" means that courses will be offered, on average, at least once every four semesters during the regular academic year (in some departments, the course will be offered more frequently). In the unlikely event a required course is not offered during a student's tenure (on average, eight regular academic semesters), students may substitute an elective course with the director's permission.
The director of the minor will serve as the adviser for all minors, will oversee all course substitutions and, with the Africana Studies Committee (a CAS committee to be impaneled by a college election), approve new course additions to the minor.